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New Year, New You[th] Programs!

National Postal Museum
By Jessie Aucoin, School Programs CoordinatorThough it is hard to believe, the new year is almost here; the weather is colder and the nights longer. The excitement of the new school year has died down, and students and teachers alike have settled into their new routines. Perhaps it’s time to think about shaking things up a bit…perhaps it’s time to bring a student group to the National Postal Museum!

New York Hippodrome Souvenir Program

National Museum of American History

Child Care Center Advisory Board Established

Smithsonian Archives - History Div
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 371, Box 5, "The Torch," June 1987, p. 8.

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 371, Box 5, "The Torch," May 1988, p. 2.

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 371, Box 5, "The Torch," November 1988, p. 3.

Assistant Secretary for Administration John F. Jameson announces the establishment of a Smithsonian Child Care Center Advisory Board. The actual child care center, which is situated at the National Museum of American History, opens September 1988.

Baseball program for New York Giants, 1957

National Museum of American History

Baseball program for the New York Yankees, 1935

National Museum of American History

Catalog of American Portraits Initiated

Smithsonian Archives - History Div
To access the catalog, see

The Catalog of American Portraits is established by the National Portrait Gallery to provide a national portrait archives of historically notable subjects and artists from the colonial period to current times. The CAP manual files contain, whenever possible, a photograph of the portrait, standard catalog data (medium, support, dimensions, condition), a description, current ownership, provenance, biographical sketches of subjects and artists, bibliographic references, and exhibition and conservation history. Often, archival correspondence and primary research material is included as well.

Baseball program for the New York Giants, 1937

National Museum of American History
Baseball program and score card for the 1937 New York Giants versus Chicago Cubs at the Polo Grounds. The program is white with a red and black printing and a Regal Shoes advertisement on the front of the program. Sinclair Motor Oil advertisement on the back.

Smithsonian program fosters new generation of Latino museum professionals

Smithsonian Insider

Shakti Castro, who recently completed a master’s degree in history, first heard about the Latino Museum Studies Program at the Smithsonian four years ago while […]

The post Smithsonian program fosters new generation of Latino museum professionals appeared first on Smithsonian Insider.

Enid A. Haupt Pledges Donation for Haupt Garden

Smithsonian Archives - History Div
Image is of Enid Haupt and Lady Bird Johnson in Haupt Garden, 1988, SI Negative 88-8669.12.tif, and is featured in the Torch, June 1988.

"Quad Construction Starts In August," The Torch, No. 86-3 (June 1983): 1, 3.

Smithsonian Year, 1983, Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1984, pp. 16, 637.

James R. Buckler, "A Surprising New Oasis Blossoms at the Smithsonian," Smithsonian magazine, 18/4 (1987), pp. 120-124, 126-127.

Enid A. Haupt pledges a gift of $3 million to finance the design and construction of a garden in the Quadrangle complex in the South Yard behind the Smithsonian Institution Building. It will be named the Enid A. Haupt Garden and will harmonize with the various design and cultural elements in the museums surrounding it.

The roles of vertebrates in forest dynamics: a new CTFS program

Smithsonian Libraries
Research at Pasoh as well as most other sites in the worldwide network of the Centre for Tropical Forest Science (CTFS-SIGEO) is traditionally focused on the diversity and dynamics of vegetation. Large-scale forest plots in which trees are mapped, measured and monitored are the key standardized methodology (Condit 1998). This approach, however, does not completely fulfill the primary goal of the CTFS-SIGEO global network, which is to understand the diversity and dynamics of forests in the face of global change. In particular, vertebrates and their roles should be systematically studied across the network but are not.

New Teen Docent Program in “Cultivating America’s Gardens�

Smithsonian Libraries
This post was written by Abigail Espiritu, a summer intern focusing on social media and the Libraries’ blog. This fall, Abigail will be entering her freshmen year at the University more »

Holt Adoption Program Newsletter, 1962 New Years Greeting

National Museum of American History
Vertical, rectangular, bifold newsletter printed in dark green ink entitled "1962 New Years Greeting from the Harry Holt Family and the Holt Adoption Progam"; 8 pp. with photographs, folded at left. Letters from Bertha Holt and Harry Holt give updates about the orphanage in Korea and acquisition of a farm where a new complex is being built (accompanied by a scale drawing of the proposed plan); thanks are given for a "shipment of toys and teenage gifts" received for Christmas. A third letter from Susie Nelson concerns Congress' passage of a law banning proxy adoptions and stresses the importance of registering children so they can become naturalized citizens.

Holt Adoption Program Newsletter, 1967 New Years Greeting

National Museum of American History
Vertical, rectangular, bifold newsletter printed in black ink entitled "1967 New Years Greeting from Holt Adoption Progam and Harry Holt Family" with Santa Claus and children on the cover; 12 pp. with photographs, folded at left. Letter from Bertha Holt details "resolutions for 1967...[and] accomplishments of 1966" at the Creswell, Oregon, office, and at the orphanage in Korea; announces the Board's decision to open an "Adoption Program in Vietnam" and the resignation of The Rev. Louis O'Conner, Jr. as director; and gives thanks to the 57th Signal Corps for Christmas gifts and party. Other items include prayer requests, staff updates, items needed, correspondence from sponsors and donors, and a financial report for 1966.

Tech-Teach: The Festival’s New Youth Training Program

Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage

A stone’s throw away from U.S. Highway 50 and the Capital Beltway in Prince George’s County, Maryland, in an otherwise unremarkable industrial complex, sits a 17,000-square-foot fabrication and logistics facility that plays a central role in the production of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. Our “FolkShop” is seasonal home to a skilled group of carpenters, welders, designers, artisans, and technicians responsible for designing, fabricating, and installing structures, stages, exhibits, and other elements that makes the Festival come to life each year on the National Mall.

The FolkShop is a fully stocked facility outfitted with various carpentry and metal-working tools, a scenic paint studio, a computer lab, and a storage warehouse. The tech crew keeps the space busy for four or five months leading up to the Festival, but for the rest of the year it serves primarily as storage.

We began to wonder: how can we optimize this space year-round? We could leverage those resources and the talent of the tech crew to create a workforce development program for the benefit of our community. Specifically, we wanted to provide an opportunity for young people from Washington, D.C. From there, the Tech-Teach Design and Fabrication Skills Program took shape.   

Our primary motivation was to increase the employability of low-income young people in D.C.—those who face some of the highest unemployment rates nationwide—and to help alleviate the growing skilled trade labor gap. We ultimately settled on a curriculum centered on fabrication and design skills through carpentry and computer-aided design (CAD). The concept isn’t new; many American high schools offered shop class as part of standard curriculum for decades. They have been largely phased out as schools shift focus to improving standardized testing scores and preparing young people for the four-year college track. Consequently, skilled trades and vocational education have become undervalued and stigmatized.

Tech-Teach Design and Fabrication Skills Program
Smithsonian staff member Anna Kann (right) teaches Ariana Lofton how to operate the circular saw in the FolkShop.
Photo by Tyler Nelson

Tech-Teach was unconventional compared to other Smithsonian internship programs, as we proposed to equip minors with power tools in addition to computer keyboards. We worked closely with the risk management and safety offices to develop a robust safety plan that protects our students from injury while providing them an opportunity to develop new skills that may contribute to an alternative career path.  

We partnered with the iCAN Technical Theater internship program at the Town Hall Education Arts Recreation Campus (THEARC), an organization managed by Building Bridges Across the River, which provides healthcare, education, arts, and recreational services to the in Southeast D.C. community. For ten years, its iCAN training program has specialized in theater production arts—specifically audio engineering, lighting design, video and film, arts administration, stage management, and hospitality for high school and college-aged students. For years, iCAN had wanted to include a stage carpentry and scenic design component but lacked the resources. Offering our resources, we made Tech-Teach a learning component embedded within the existing iCAN structure. The partnership was a natural fit.

In the spring of 2019, we offered an eight-week design and carpentry training course for six students held over multiple Saturdays at the FolkShop. Through a series of hands-on carpentry projects led by five instructors, the students learned how to safely use various saws, drills, pneumatic nail guns, hand tools, and other power tools. In the computer lab, they were introduced to CAD and museum exhibition and festival design. In the last week of the program, students put their new skills to the test by assisting the tech crew in the installation of several sculptures for Smithsonian Gardens’ HABITAT exhibit on the grounds of the National Museum of Natural History, which will be on display until December 2020.

Tech-Teach Design and Fabrication Skills Program
Student Donnell Hooks mounts the HABITAT dragonfly sculpture in the National Museum of Natural History’s Pollinator Garden.
Photo by Jackson Harvey

“You won’t learn this stuff every day,” said Thomas, a Tech-Teach student. “So coming in here, learning it, you might find something that you love, and you might want to make a job out of it.”

Over the course of the program, students were quick to grasp much of the subject matter, were willing to ask questions about challenging topics, learned from their mistakes, celebrated their successes, and grew as designers, builders, and leaders. The program not only equipped the students with the necessary knowledge to improve their carpentry and CAD skills, but also provided an environment where they could apply concepts from engineering, math, fine arts, building arts, and, most importantly, critical thinking that are beneficial for any educational or career track.

Moving forward, given the success of the pilot program, we plan to continue our partnership with THEARC to administer two more terms of Tech-Teach in 2020, one in winter, the other in the fall. We will make some changes to the strengthen the curriculum and to improve our evaluation methods to better measure the progress we are making toward helping our students prepare for employment and career advancement.

The Binitie Family Foundation, Quinn Evans Architects, and Forrester Construction all saw the value in Tech-Teach and generously contributed to fund the pilot program. We aim to continue cultivating a diverse network of stakeholders, partners, and sponsors to support and provide training opportunities that are connected to meaningful, long-term educational and employment pathways, and hope to serve as a model that inspires other organizations to create programs of their own to diversify and expand the employment, training, and educational opportunities available for local youth in the D.C. region.

Please join us in making the next two terms of Tech-Teach possible by giving today. Email for more information about how you or your organization can get involved.

Tech-Teach Design and Fabrication Skills Program
In the FolkShop, Kerell Partee assembles his toolbox, a project each Tech-Teach student completed.
Photo by Jackson Harvey

Tyler Nelson is the technical director of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival and director of the Tech-Teach Design and Fabrication Skills Program.

A Program for the New Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
Booklet for the Whitney Museum of American Art. Both front and back covers have a design of a cube broken down into sections of black, red and two sections of blue. Inside is a description of the museum and its floor plan, images and text throughout.

Student Explains Painting to Young Visitors

Smithsonian Archives - History Div
In the November, 1968 issue of TORCH

Laurel Arnold, a student from Mount Holyoke College, teaches two young visitors about a Richard Linder painting. She was part of a program designed by the Office of Academic Programs to generate interest among students in museum professions.

Exhibits Modernization Program Established

Smithsonian Archives - History Div
Image captions: First Ladies Gowns Hall, 1955, negative mah-44606.jpg; How Tall Are You Exhibit, Hall of Health, 1957, negative 2002-10650.jpg; Hall of Gems and Minerals, 1958, negative mnh083a.jpg; Birds of the World Hall, 1956, negative mnh-43843b.jpg

"Secretary's Report," Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution, 1961, Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1962, pp. 2-17.

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 190, United States National Museum, Office of the Director, Records, circa 1921-1973, Series 21, Box 89.

In 1948, a Sub-Committee on Exhibits Modernization produced a report outlining a program to update the exhibitions in the United States National Museum. The committee was led by Frank A. Taylor, Chairman, with Frank M. Setzler, Ellsworth Payne Killip, Waldo LaSalle Schmitt, C. Lewis Gazin, Charles Carey, and John A. Pope. With support from Congressional appropriations, from 1953 to 1964 most exhibits in the USNM were refurbished, using new exhibit techniques. The halls included Fossil Plants and Invertebrates, Fossil Fishes and Amphibians, Prehistoric Mammals, Gems and Minerals, Jade Room, Latin American Archeology, North American Archeology, Native Peoples of the Americas, Indian and Eskimo Arts and Customs, The World of Mammals, North American Mammals, Birds of the World, Life in Early America, Gowns of the First Ladies, Textile Machinery and Fibers, Textile Processing, Power Machinery, Farm Machinery, Printing Arts, Military History, Numismatics, Hall of Health, and History of Medicine, Dentistry, and Pharmacy. The exhibits of the National Air Museum were also renovated.

Pinback button for the Fire Department of the City of New York youth program

National Museum of African American History and Culture
A pinback button for the Fire Department of the City of New York. The background of the button is red with black and white text around the edge that reads [Firefighters Devoted To Neighborhood Youth]. At center is the FDNY crest. The exterior edge of the button has the manufacturer's information printed in black. The back of the button has a metal pin with a clasp.

Smithsonian Web Site Goes Up

Smithsonian Archives - History Div
Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution for the Year 1995. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1996, p. 66.

Smithsonian Institution Archives, Reference File, "The Torch," June 1995, p. 1,8.

The Smithsonian Institution launches its Home Page (/ on the World Wide Web. The site is officially opened with a demonstration in House Speaker Newt Gingrich's office. The site contains more than 1,500 electronic pages and includes overviews in Spanish, German, and French. Within the first 24 hours, the web site receives about 100,000 hits.

The New Baker Theatre Formal Opening

National Museum of American History
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